Alison’s Marathon des Sables blog: Stage 1

Stage 1 : 33K

The first 13K of the stage was on the flat. The ground was uneven but firm and I was feeling fine. In the distance were towering sand dunes that shimmered like silk; they turned out to be the next part of the route and stunning though they were to look at, they were almost impossible to run on. Most of us were reduced to a slow walk: most. The winner whipped through the stage in a staggering 2:41. The first Brit was Tobias Mews, who finished in 3:42, with Jen Salter the first British woman.

I'm not sure of her time because I can't stagger as far as the notice board - I've developed two enormous blisters. This has at least given me the chance to visit each of the camp's medical facilities and I can report that the service provided by Doc Trotters is excellent. The blisters developed when I was on the dunes and though they became worse on the final, flat, 7K they were not hurting when I ran I managed to break into a jog for the first time.

I finished in around seven hours. It was easily the slowest 33K I have even run but it was immensely satisfying to finish the stage - not everyone did. There are rumours that about 10 people have dropped out already. The temperature rose to 38C today, which is by no means as hot as it can get.

Today was really tough; tomorrow we face 38K.

Find out the story behind Alison's MdS attempt in her first blog entry.